29 December 2010
Vistas: The gorgeous scenery of New Zealand is a more-than-credible stand-in for Middle Earth. This is equally true of rolling green hills, rugged mountains, and ancient-looking forests.
Bad-Asser than Thou Part 1: Aragorn singlehandedly takes on five Nazgul on Weathertop.
Bad-Asser than Thou Part 2: Christopher Lee as Saruman. Because he's CHRISTOPHER LEE. As SARUMAN. (I wish the world had the chance to see him as Gandalf, per Tolkien's own desire, but he has gift to create Saruman as someone deeper and more real than a plotting comic-book villain, which is how some other actor might have portrayed him.)
Bad-Asser than Thou Part 3: Sam slowly coming into his own as a humble hero, particularly in the scene of the skirmish in Moria, when he starts whacking orcs with his frying pan.
Music: Occasionally repetitious, but undeniably beautiful and atmospheric.
Supporting Performances: Not all are of the same caliber, but a few do stand out. The aforementioned Lee as Saruman, Ian McKellen as Gandalf (though that is more of a lead than supporting role), the unfairly (in this case) maligned Orlando Bloom as a Flynn-esque Legolas, and, particularly key to the Fellowship book/film, Sean Bean as the conflicted but ultimately repentant and redeemed Boromir.
Bonus Wonderful Moment: The Little Bug, observing a battle with trolls and orcs, exclaimed, "Bad monsters, go to time out!" Time out, of course, is the most terrible punishment he can imagine.
25 December 2010
15 December 2010
Why were you given your particular name?
I'm guessing that my parents just liked the name Deborah. And there is the precedent of the truly awesome woman named Deborah in the Bible (Judges 4-5). But my secret theory (which won't be particularly secret if it's posted on my blog, and also my mom reads my blog anyway) is that my mom wanted to name me after her favorite heroine (Harriet Vane) of her favorite writer (Dorothy Sayers) but couldn't bring herself to burden me with the name of Harriet so she picked Harriet's middle name (revealed to be Deborah in Gaudy Night for sure, perhaps in other books as well) instead.
What is your favorite thing to do?
Have long earnest talks with close friends, while sipping a frappucino and nibbling a yummy treat.
What is your favorite food?
I can't pick just one, but I really like sweet potatoes and guavas.
What is your favorite book?
Again, I can't pick just one. But a book that I truly enjoyed and that influenced me in a profound way is a pithy volume by the name of A Child's History of the World. It was part of my 4th grade Calvert curriculum, and it awakened in me a profound longing for and fascination with the world of antiquity, particularly the languages, literatures, and cultures thereof.
What is your favorite candy bar?
Oh wow, this is hard. It depends on my mood. Butterfingers is often a good choice, or peanut or dark chocolate M&Ms.
What is your favorite cookie?
Fresh-baked homemade chocolate chip cookie.
What is your favorite sport?
To watch or to play? I like to both view and participate (even if I'm not any good) in dancesport, hockey, and football (soccer to some people).
What is your favorite song?
Oh, so difficult! But really, one song that never fails to reach deep into my soul is the overture to Rossini's Barber of Seville.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Wife mama writer scholar journalist theologian archaeologist scientist inventor musician singer songwriter dancer advocate for the vulnerable.
What place would you like to visit?
Classical sites in Turkey, Greece, and Italy.
What is your favorite thing about your mom?
She is amazing and a great role model, because she is dedicated to doing her best at the tasks that God has given her, and she is passionate about things that she believes in.
What is your favorite thing about yourself? What are three adjectives that best describe you?
My favorite thing about myself? Oddly enough, it's also my least favorite thing about myself. I'm actually pretty good at a lot of stuff. The sad part is that I'm not really great at anything. Three adjectives that describe me? Loyal, determined, chilly (as in, I get cold a lot).
In five years, what kind of person will you be?
I don't know but if I had to guess: Exhausted. I'd like to be more organized and disciplined, though.
In ten years, what kind of person will you be?
Even more organized and disciplined! Also, (I hope) probably I will be the kind of person who can be resilient and meet any situation with maturity and a good sense of humor.
Bold those books you've read in their entirety, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read an excerpt.
1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On the Road – Jack Kerouak
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
07 December 2010
02 December 2010
There are millions upon millions of orphans all over the planet. In the reality of this cruel world, orphans have little chance of survival, and what lives they have are usually marked by abuse, neglect and abandonment, exploitation, starvation, disease... Any human being with a heart must be moved by the fate of helpless children lacking any caring parent to provide and protect; as a mother, I can barely handle even thinking about the lives that most of these children lead. Small wonder that God in His Word has made it abundantly clear, over and over, that the righteous, His people, are commanded to shoulder the roles of provider and protector on behalf of the disenfranchised. But there are so many in need; the problem is so huge as to be overwhelming. I am a single mom who can barely deal with one child. How can I confront the needs of millions?
Willow quoted Mother Teresa as saying that "we cannot do great things, we can do only small things with great love". Many of us give sacrificially but even in our sacrifices, our resources meet only a few tiny needs. But if each one of us does even just one thing, that's a lot of little things adding up to something bigger. And if we each do our one little thing with love, all of us together will become something even greater still!
There are many organizations dedicated to the care of orphans, and probably the majority of them are reputable and provide incredible positive impact on behalf of the people that they serve. My family have been fortunate enough to become aware of Ugandan Lambs, and we personally know many of the people that work with and for them. Ugandan Lambs is unique in that it is designed to provide for the children of one extended family whose older members have slowly been destroyed and killed by AIDS. Ugandan Lambs really focuses on keeping the children's lives as stable and family-oriented as possible, for they are not sent to institutions but rather remain together with siblings and cousins in their village, cared for by surviving relatives (many of whom are AIDS widows). Ugandan Lambs provides education for the orphans, so that they become self-sufficient adults who can break the cycle of poverty and dependence and are then able to reach out and care for orphans and widows of future generations. My parents have sponsored one particular young man for several years, whereas my choice has been to offer gifts that meet needs for the group of children as a whole. If you are a believer and God has impressed upon your heart His command to care for orphans (or if you are an unbeliever but still have compassion for orphans) and you are looking for a responsible organization to support, we heartily recommend Ugandan Lambs. Please feel free to explore the website (it's http://www.ugandanlambs.org/) and contact them for more information. If you have a different organization that you choose to support, we are excited and encourage you to continue in that.
I should have mentioned this first and not as an afterthought, but remember: Prayers are free. Find even just a name of an orphan and intercede for him or her daily.
01 December 2010
Today, 1 December, has been designated World AIDS Day by whomever it is that tells the whole world what to do and when to celebrate (probably FIFA, come to think of it). I’m not particularly known for my AIDS activism, although I have been quietly trying to raise awareness of certain aspects of the AIDS epidemic for several years. In fact, I found a post that I wrote 5 years ago pertaining to this very topic, and sadly, very little has changed since then. Perhaps I’m not working hard enough on that awareness-raising stuff. I don’t know.
I think that AIDS has captured the world’s attention in a way that few things, and particularly very few diseases, have been able to simply because not only is it a tremendously harrowing epidemic but it is one that highlights the frailties of our societies and the devastating effects of sin. The suffering of the innocent, particularly the young and helpless; the sex trade and human trafficking; the abuse and marginalization of women; the constant drive of the fallen human race to turn to darkness and destruction rather than healing and hope: In a Ven diagram of the AIDS crisis, all of these issues would be circles having a hefty intersection with AIDS itself. Maybe I should work on making an actual diagram along those lines.
Well, one thing that I know is utterly important is the care of orphans and widows, and at this time, I am seeking to raise awareness of AIDS orphans in particular. So, it being nearly midnight and I being very much in need of sleep, we will continue to discuss this tomorrow.
As far as my wisdom teeth are concerned, I'm doing all right. Not much pain to speak of, but I have swelling and bruising on the right side of my mandible and I'm still on some medication, which has the lovely side effect of making me dizzy and lightheaded at times. I'm almost done with that stuff, though.
My life has some struggle centered around the fact that I'm just overwhelmed and exhausted, and the Bug is not making anything easier. I spent 3 hours putting him to bed tonight, and he just refused to go to sleep. I gave up at 11:30 and went to shower, but when I got through with that, I found him in the bedroom still awake. It is now past midnight, as I mentioned, and he is STILL awake. I just can't do this anymore. I can't be a single mom. I can't spend hours and hours of my day just trying to get the child to sleep so that I can get some sleep (because, remember, I'm EXHAUSTED). I have to work tomorrow. I have to be productive at work so I can remain employed and we can avoid being homeless and starving.